Steven Ensminger Jr., the husband of Carley McCord, a sports journalist who was among the five people who died in a Louisiana plane crash, will always love the woman he fell for after just months of dating.
He described his wife as a completely stunning woman, someone whose passion for work and others made her a one-of-a-kind person. McCord, 30, sent her husband a message the morning of the crash, telling him that she loved him.
He still messages her back every day, Ensminger said in an interview Thursday.
"Words can't describe the kind of person she is. There's so many — I can't even begin to tell you how much of a special person she was," he said. "How much she cared about other people, how much she wanted me to care about other people."
McCord was on a small eight-passenger plane that went down after takeoff from Lafayette Regional Airport on Saturday. She was on her way to attend the Peach Bowl college football playoff semifinal between the University of Oklahoma and Louisiana State University.
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Her father-in-law, LSU offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger, coached through tears during the game.
"I could see Carley telling him, 'Go coach, get out there,'" her husband said. "Because she loved him, they would bicker back and forth. I could see her just being with him."
Ensminger said his father was one of the interviews his wife always wanted but wouldn't ask for.
McCord, a Louisiana native, was a sports reporter for NBC affiliate WDSU of New Orleans. She previously worked as a digital media reporter for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and as the in-game host for the New Orleans Pelicans of the NBA and the New Orleans Saints of the NFL.
In addition to her work in sports, McCord was an online teacher for children in China who were learning English.
She wanted to be the best at every job she took on, her husband said.
"She would keep in touch. She had a relationship with those kids," he said. "Because she cared, she cared so much. She was just one of the most caring people I ever will meet."
The couple met while she worked at a radio station where Ensminger's sister worked, and within a few months he knew she was the woman he wanted to marry. He recalled how he was drawn to her competitive nature and her love of sports and how easy she was to talk to, even from their first date.
"She was the greatest. And that's why it didn't take me long to propose," Ensminger said. "I knew it. I loved her. I'll always love her."